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Union Pacific Third Main Line Project
Union PacificUnion Pacific Tracks and Downtown Parking Deck is planning to add a third railroad line on its UP/Metra West Line from River Forest to Melrose Park and then from West Chicago to Geneva. In our community, the new rail is proposed to being set 20 feet south of the current tracks, and construction will include more retaining walls.

The improvements are designed to ensure smoother traffic flow and reduce conflicts between commuter and freight trains that share the line. Earlier projects completed by Metra and Union Pacific modernized the signal system and added crossovers to make freight movement more efficient. The West Line third rail expansion will allow 59 Metra trains and 70 freight trains that use the line each day to operate at the same time, which the railroad agencies believe is a critical step to improving the line’s reliability and efficiency.

Construction on the third rail is not expected to begin until 2017 or 2018.

To prepare for the loss of about 145 surface parking spaces to accommodate the railroad expansion, the City secured grant funding and built a third tier expansion for the Third Street Commuter parking deck expansion (180 new spaces).

The new Fourth Street commuter permit parking lot (91 spaces) also has opened in March 2016.

Latest Update
City staff met with Metra and Union Pacific officials in September 2015. Until that point, the City was told no property acquisitions would need to take place for the project. However, railroad officials have stated they will need to acquire small tracts of land that may impact residential neighborhoods. Details on how much and where specific land acquisition may take place have not been specifically determined.

Rail officials provided another update to the City Council on March 21. The presentation starts at the 15:10 mark.

The City will continue to provide updates on this webpage when more information becomes available.

If you want more information about the Union Pacific/Metra West Line third rail project, call City Administrator Stephanie Dawkins at 630-232-7494 or send her an email.